It was a very rough night for former Buffalo Bills punter Corey Bojorquez.
The Green Bay Packers punter played a role in a pair of costly miscues in the team’s 13-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC divisional playoff game, with the Niners using their special teams play to fuel the win and advance to the NFC Championship game. After the game, many were pointing fingers at Bojorquez for his role in the stunning upset.
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Punter Under Scrutiny
Bojorquez had been solid through three seasons with the Bills, but the team ultimately let him leave in free agency and he signed on with the Packers. His season ended in disastrous fashion on Saturday, with the 49ers special teams unit blocking a 39-yard field goal attempt at the end of the half with Bojorquez as the holder and then tying the game in the fourth quarter on a blocked punt returned for a touchdown.
While there were some clear failures in blocking in front of Bojorquez on both blocked kicks, many still took to Twitter to blame the punter, with some noting that he has carried a reputation for shaky play.
“One of the big knocks on Corey Bojorquez and likely the reason the Rams traded him was that Sean McVay was worried he’d have a punt blocked against the 49ers in the playoffs and returned for a game-tying touchdown,” noted SB Nation’s TurfShowTimes. “This is why you hire scouts.”
Some Bills fans said the miscues in the playoff game seemed to justify the team deciding to move on from Bojorquez and signing Matt Haack to replace him.
Bojorquez’s Replacement Struggled at Times
While some Bills fans were glad that the team moved on from Bojorquez, his replacement has had some difficult games as well. In the final week of the season, the Bills needed a win over the New York Jets to secure their second-straight AFC East title but found themselves in an unexpectedly tight battle thanks in part due to Haack’s punting woes. The Bills punter shanked a 28-yard punt that was saved by offsetting penalties, but his re-kick ended up worse, netting just 21 yards.
He faltered again on the next drive, hitting another punt for 22 yards. His next was even worse, with Haack bobbling a difficult snap and evading pressure before pooching a kick that went just seven yards.
After the game, Haack explained that he struggled with the cold and windy conditions, but was happy with some of his better kicks — including a 52-yard punt when the Bills had been backed up inside their own 20.
“I think I had three or four punts that, actually, I was happy with in that game, going into that gusty wind,” Haack told the Buffalo News. “I expect a lot out of myself, and I don’t want to let my team down. But to be able to finish on a high note like that and put together some good punts, I think it’s big. It shows I didn’t let those few bad mistakes into the whole game.”
After a rough season finale, Haack had a light workload against in a 47-17 drubbing of the New England Patriots in the Wild Card round. The Bills never called Haack’s number during the game, scoring touchdowns on all seven drives before a final kneel-down.
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